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Remembering a playful spirit

7 Mar

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The first person to read a new post on this site was invariably my daughter, Anushka, who has tragically died, aged 24.

A keen blogger herself, Nush was inordinately proud of my small achievements and always sent a message of encouragement or an insightful comment when I had anything new to say. Although this is a professional, rather than a personal platform (and most of my readers did not know my daughter) I have felt unable to resume this activity without remembering her.

Nush was a passionate, thoughtful young woman with a fierce social conscience and a life-long commitment to environmental and political justice. A creative and intelligent student, she planned to enter teaching but was ultimately overwhelmed by a world that often seems to value standardised attainment and conformity over people’s innate value and individuality.

She had struggled for years with the kind of learning difficulties that are still under-recognised: attention deficit disorder, dyslexia and dyspraxia, and since her mid-teens had suffered from debilitating episodes of the poor mental health that would mercilessly ravage her self-confidence and undermine her plans.

In spite of her struggles, Nush, a natural extrovert, was a truly generous and loyal friend to an extraordinary number of her peers; and a dedicated daughter, sister and cousin. She was a playful spirit, most at home in the world of summer music and arts festivals; or travelling around India with her best friends.

She took a keen interest in my work, profoundly understanding the importance of protecting space to play and honouring children’s self expression over whatever the adult world thinks is best for them. She would have been a wonderful teacher.

Nush is terribly missed, and this site is dedicated to her memory.

Adrian Voce

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Anushka Natalia van Staden-Voce
24 November 1987 – 8 August 2012

 

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